Sepsis: A Challenge for Patients and Hospitals

June 27, 2011
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I thought I’d carry through on Infection Control again this week and share some new data I recently came across on Septicemia, commonly known in the hospital as, Sepsis.  This topic has been on my mind ever since I had a conversation with a new friend. (Yes, I met him through the wonders of social media.)

I thought I’d carry through on Infection Control again this week and share some new data I recently came across on Septicemia, commonly known in the hospital as, Sepsis.  This topic has been on my mind ever since I had a conversation with a new friend. (Yes, I met him through the wonders of social media.)

He is Dr. Herb Rogove, an Intensivist, who’s virtual medical group provides remote presence specialty care to hospitals, clinics and other providers using telemedicine technologies.  We were speaking about stroke and he mentioned that sepsis is another high volume condition (approximately 800,000 per year) with great risk for disability, high costs and/or mortality.

This new brief from the CDC is based upon data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey for 2008.  Key findings include

  • The number and rate of hospitalizations for septicemia or sepsis more than doubled from 2000 through 2008
  • The hospital rates in 2008 were similar for males and females, and with increased age
  • Patients under age 65 and aged 65 and over who were hospitalized for septicemia or sepsis in 2008 were sicker and stayed longer than those hospitalized for other conditions.
  • The proportion of hospitalized patients who were discharged to other short-stay hospitals or long-term care institutions was higher for those with septicemia or sepsis (36%) than for those with other conditions (14%).  
  • The proportion of hospitalizations that ended in death were higher for those with septicemia or sepsis (17%) than for others (2%).

This is really consistent with the information shared with me by Dr. Rogove and my experience walking the units of the hospital.  According to Dr. Rogove, time really is of the essence with regard to selecting the right antibiotic and getting it started to help reduce the lenght of stay and risk of unwanted outcomes.

If you have additional data to share, please leave a comment.